Emerging economies have recently faced commodity price declines that reinforce the instability of natural resources as a basis for socio-economic transformation. This has re-energised arguments for industrialisation as necessary for such transitions. Drawing upon classical development economics theory, this paper offers a deployment of an enhanced developmental state paradigm (DSP) that highlights the roles of agriculture and mineral resources in the pursuit of industrial progress. This application of the DSP has its basis in narratives on Asian developmental states with focus on mineral-resource endowment. Employed with reference to Africa’s key emerging economy and net petroleum exporter, Nigeria, the DSP shows how the state, influenced by significant milieus, has enabled linkages between oil and agriculture that can drive industrial transformation. The paper finds that linkages between oil and agriculture are well-established, however economic, social and political influences on the state have engendered agriculture’s limited onward contribution to structural change.