While the size and speculative nature of land transactions in the wake of energy, food and climate crises have surprised observers, the reasons for partial implementation of many land developments remain largely unexamined. This contribution investigates trajectories of land acquisition and enclosure by analyzing four acquisition processes in Indonesia - those associated with rice, oil palm, Jatropha and carbon sequestration - considering their implications for comparative studies elsewhere. The paper finds that current patterns of land use change represent a continuation of ongoing land transformation processes. It describes the logic leading to partial realization of large-scale schemes. Highlighting the importance of interactions between formal and vernacular rural land development processes, the essay concludes that many large-scale schemes are better understood as virtual land acquisitions.