The number of large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries has increased dramatically since 2007-2008. The phenomenon involves foreign entities purchasing or leasing vast tracts of land for agricultural or speculative gains. The size and manner of these transnational land transactions is prompting concern from international NGOs, media outlets, and other advocacy groups. Various opinions are apparent: some see the transactions as blatant ‘land grabbing’ whereby local people lose access to their lands, other argues that such transactions, if well managed, can bring much-needed capital, technology, employment, and taxation to the host countries. Despite these differences, there is growing agreement that large-scale land acquisitions require better governance. This paper aims to provide input on this front. It works from the premise that evidence-based assessment is needed. An empirical evaluation of the existing situation is undertaken. Nigeria acts as the case study: the country’s national land policy is used as the primary source for assessment. It is tested against the World Bank’s Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF). A range of other ‘land grabbing’ source materials including media reports, an expert questionnaire, and aerial imagery are used for validation. Overall, the results showed Nigeria fulfilled only ten (10) of the forty-four (44) dimensions examined (23%). It was found to adhere to dimensions relating to recognition of western style land rights, restrictions, and basic compensation. However, areas for policy upgrade were identified as: enforcement of existing rights; flexible methods for recognizing and registering rights (especially in rural areas); cost-effective survey mechanisms, better definition of land agency responsibilities; more equity and transparency in decision making; improving public land management; enhancing expropriation procedures; better land information collection and provision; and improved dispute resolution processes. The LGAF was found to be a useful diagnostic tool, however, it is recommended that a set of guidelines specific to large-scale land acquisitions be developed.