Influential discourses present Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as essential for agricultural development in Africa; a parallel, critical debate on ‘land rushes’ has denounced Land Grabs, demanding increased accountability in FDI-based land deals. This article explores an initiative located in central Mozambique, the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC). It shows how the international fertiliser company Yara set out to enrol actors at different levels in business, governance and agricultural development into BAGC as a public-private partnership to promote commercial agriculture. Very soon, however, Yara made shifts in its engagement and market strategy, leaving the BAGC initiative to supporting donors and local producers. The analysis presented here shows how the tension between ‘patient-capital’ requirements, high risks and low immediate returns have shaped this case over time – in a context of a national political economy framed by extractive-resource dynamics.