Socio-spatial extensiveness often also means organized socio-spatial complexity, or, worse, opacity. Both pose a challenge to regulators (as well as to researchers). But by identifying and grounding agri-investment chains and their underlying actor constellations, different “pressure points” (Cotula & Blackmore 2014: 3 ) can be identified to repoliticize money flows into the countryside.
The public and academic perception that most of the financialization of farming is taking place in countries of the Global South is at odds with reality: In fact, most of the financial capital placements in agriculture have primarily gone to Aotearoa New Zealand, the US, Canada, Eastern Europe, and Australia, with Brazil and partly South Africa being main southern exceptions.
Despite a whole range of possible “asset trajectories” shaped by a range of national (e.g., property and investment regimes), local (e.g., local agrarian relations; place-based asset histories) and transnational factors (e.g., source of capital), the case studies examined in detail for this project (see here), and the additional analysis of the global agricultural investment space, suggest a more general script of “assetization” and “value creation”. As a practical operation, the “value creation” processes that tie M and M’ together, embedded into far-reaching and future-oriented contractual relationships, rest on establishing specific territories of financial economization, carved out from the “web of life” , and heavily policed thereafter. It is through such territories that “the raid of the future on the rest of time” (Vogl 2015: 3 ) is organized, an endeavour that faces all kinds of drawbacks and breakdowns, and sometimes fails altogether, as the case of a bankrupt grain investment in Tanzania shows.
 Cotula L and Blackmore E (2014) Understanding Agricultural
Investment Chains: Lessons to Improve Governance. Rome: FAO.
 Patel R and Moore JW (2017) A History of the World in Seven Cheap
Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet.
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
 Vogl J (2015) The Specter of Capital. Stanford, CA: Stanford
It is also a process by which asset managers, depending on the ultimate source of capital and the terms of its administration, may end up balancing the need to generate returns for investors with demands from other local, national or transnational players. In the better cases, this can result in more long-term and economically impactful development trajectories, as the cases of the intergenerational investor in Aotearoa New Zealand and the family office investing in Tanzanian dairy have shown, but often short-termism, the imperative to scale up quickly (and opt for scalable production systems in the very first place) and the uncertainties related to what happens to an “asset” after the exit cast shadows over the value generation process.
It should go without saying that the geographical settings discussed here in detail were peculiar for their historical and institutional context, which sets certain limits to how aggressively investors could extract value from agriculture. Examples from other world regions abound, where financial extraction seems to have been much more harmful in environmental or social terms, often – but not only – related to the more clandestine nature of the capital flows involved.
(Ouma 2020: 6-8)