Over the last decade, Zambia has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of medium-scale “emergent farms” cultivating 5–20 ha of land. This study analyzes the factors underpinning this growth. We find that the growth of emergent farmers in Zambia is primarily attributable to land acquisition by salaried urbanites and by relatively privileged rural individuals. We found little evidence to support the hypothesis that the rise of emergent farmers primarily represents a process of successful accumulation by farmers who began farming with less than 5 ha of land, a situation faced by more than 95% of farming households. We argue that these outcomes are the result of Zambia’s land administration and agricultural spending policies. Rising concentration of landholdings in Zambia raises serious questions about the potential of current agricultural growth to act as a vehicle for broad based economic growth and poverty reduction.