Purpose: Over the last decade, there has been a general outcry on the loss of livelihood by communities through land acquisition schemes to accommodate large scale farming in Africa. Interventions by the African Union through Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in July 2009 – the LSLBI and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of the Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries (VGGT) have addressed this to a very great extent. Notwithstanding these interventions, local communities continue to be insufficiently compensated, under-consulted, and left with their livelihoods threatened. The basic question as to who is to improve land governance in LSLBI remains unanswered and, it is intriguing to establish whether the VGGT are sufficiently understood and operational.

Methodology: through documentary and government policy reviews, the study evaluated three projects in the Coast and Kigoma regions of Tanzania.

Findings: It is clear where local communities were directly consulted; there was consensus on how to address the livelihood issue and the project objectives were more likely to be achieved. Local communities were more readily to adapt to a new arrangement if offered some ownership rights in the subsequent investors’ project than monetary compensation.

Research limitations the studied projects had been stalled on account of hostile communities and political interventions in the past. They nevertheless present a good case for understanding the underlying factors that may hinder large scale agricultural investment in countries such as Tanzania.

Practi al implication Monetary compensation for land to be acquired has been a source of disputes for too long. An alternative scheme such as equity participation in a new venture assures continued rights and food security.

Value of Work: A framework for improving FAO Guidelines and customizing them for the African local conditions is given. Besides, the land assessment and compensation problem has been addressed.