Abstract Brazil became one of the world’s largest food donors after the WFP went through a reform process. The reform allowed non-traditional donors to donate food provided that other partners paid for logistical costs. We analyzed the reform process through documental analysis and interviews to understand Brazil’s role in this. The results show that both actors had complementary interests. However, whilst Brazil had ambitions of prominence in this area, it adopted a rule-taker position. The WFP’s Secretariat was the main driving force in the process and, to some extent, co-opted Brazil.