What makes elites developmental instead of predatory? We argue that Mozambique’s elite was developmental at independence 35 years ago. With pressure and encouragement from international forces, it became predatory. It has now partly returned to its developmental roots and is trying to use the state to promote the creation of business groups that could be large enough and dynamic enough to follow a development model with some similarities to the Asian Tigers, industrial development in Latin America, or Volkskapitalisme in apartheid South Africa. But Mozambique’s elite has also returned to two other traditions – that development is done by the elite and by foreigners. There is little support for development of local SMEs and agricultural development has been left to foreign-owned plantations.