Taking the example of the Dangote business conglomerate, this article investigates why pockets of efficiency have formed in the Nigerian manufacturing sector and why, at the same time, structural transformation has remained limited across the economy as a whole. The authors argue that expansion of markets (in this case domestic) can discipline learning. Yet emerging monopoly capitalism carries within it the seeds of fragile accumulation to the extent that price-setting power, tax evasion and control over wages undermine the growth of purchasing power. In the context of expanding markets, Dangote's monopoly position and growing profits followed from productive investment, but these profits were not passed down at the same rate into wages. What is more, difficulties in taxing the conglomerate have undercut the resources available to the state for pro-poor redistribution.