Recent years have seen a flood of pseudo-facts and falsely precise data on land deals. This has led some to call for a more careful approach to the study of land deals that moves away from the current hectare-centric focus towards a grounded case-study methodology. Heeding such calls, this contribution draws on fieldwork undertaken in Mali during 2011 to examine a well-known land deal, the Malibya project, which involved a contract for the transfer of control of 100,000 hectares of land within the Office du Niger. Locally and globally, the deal was denounced following the destruction of homes and gardens as a result of a canal development associated with project. In contrast, the Malian government has argued such projects are vital for expanded irrigation infrastructure and thus securing food self-sufficiency for Mali. Somewhere in between are the farmers of the Office du Niger, some of whom argue for the cessation of the project and others of whom argue the expansion of irrigation in the zone could benefit farmers, particularly those without sufficient access to land. This paper explores the differing viewpoints of the actors involved and the role the land-grabbing frame has played in mobilising these different responses.