The Colombian countryside has long been dominated by grass and inequality. Economic theory (i.e., the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity) holds that the monopolization of land by ranchers is irrational since farming is more productive than ranching and small farms often produce more per area than large ones. Traditional explanations for the predominance of grass and the country’s agrarian structure focus on extra-economic coercion and the status associated with owning land and cattle. By contrast, this study explores the relative profitability of ranching and the limitations of peasant agriculture, which generated contrasting capacities to accumulate. It thus suggests that land markets, and the productive advantages of cattle, offer an alternative explanation.