This chapter grapples with questions of agency in the development of African higher education, with a special focus on the Association of African Universities (AAU), an organization outside of formal education policymaking on the continent. Through the lens of rhetorical institutionalism, findings illustrate how the AAU has adopted and adapted competing institutional logics to exert influence over development policymaking. Next, I will discuss how systems of persuasion were cultivated and symbols employed to establish the legitimacy of the organization in a heterogeneous institutional field that includes universities, development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, supranational arrangements, and the influence of international financial institutions. This enabled the AAU to extend institutional logics into African higher education. This case study seeks to upend the pervasive crisis narrative that perpetuates both the impotence of African institutions and the stewardship of outside development elites. Finally this chapter considers the implications of this critical case study for development discourse and practice.