Like other European regimes, the Portuguese Estado Novo (1933-1974) implemented an agricultural colonisation policy that, influenced by the ideals of modernism and neo-Physiocracy, aimed at economic development, social pacification and the fostering of national identities, resulting in the settlement and populating of modern rural landscapes. However, the Portuguese regime coped with an enduring financial crisis, and relied on an official nationalism built upon a conservative-traditional society under the union of God, fatherland, work and family. Unsurprisingly, Portuguese inner colonisation was comparatively small-scale, aimed at converting farmhands into rural homeowners, and its modernising experiments had limited impact on the landscape. However, landscape and place are not passive concepts. They concurrently build and are built by political and economic agencies, social negotiations, embodied experiences, plural meanings and affections. Looking into primary sources and the outcomes of a micro- ethnography in Boalhosa, this paper intersects official-written history and emotional-sensory memory to illustrate consistencies and dissonances between political and social actors’ representations of the Portuguese inner colonisation. Based on exploratory observations in Boalhosa, it argues that while the lack of political assertiveness may have curtailed the Portuguese project, it also favoured its social appropriation by local communities and economies within a contextualised historical spatial continuum.