This contribution examines the relationship between the ruling Frelimo party and the state it controls in post-socialist Mozambique. It argues that while democratic reforms may have altered state structures since the end of single-party socialism in 1992, power remains concentrated in Frelimo, which has actually increased its hold and become more deeply entrenched during the liberal period. The party is not only the dominant political force in the nation, but its structures provide a layered form of social stratification within the nation and also one of the major routes of social mobility available to many Mozambicans. Democratization has largely allowed the party to become one of the primary ‘arenas of negotiation’ in Mozambique by channelling various demands and interests through its internal structures.