Both fortress and community-based approaches to conservation have shown poor (sometimes negative) results in terms of environmental protection and poverty reduction. Either approach can also trigger grassroots resistance. This article is centered on an allegedly 'community-based' conservation and development project (and its successive follow-ups) intended to create a national park in Guinea-Bissau. It discusses how external agents have constructed the need for intervention, and explores the negative consequences of the practical solutions adopted for a non-existing problem, as well as the on-going shifting and multiple responses of local people. The article aims to demonstrate that supposedly community-based approaches can be as authoritarian and ineffective as fortress conservation, and that resistance generated by them can be fruitless in terms of collective empowerment and welfare, while also being harmful for the environment. The only genuine winner is the aid industry.