This article examines the limitations of Mexican agrarian programmes for agricultural transformation and nationalism by exploring indigenous responses to the end of land restitution in the late 1990s. Mexico’s land restitution began with the Agrarian Reform aimed at assisting with post-revolutionary nationbuilding and appeasing rural unrest. Landless labourers were able to claim rights to land for agricultural production on communally held lands, and landless indigenous peoples could request the restitution of their original land or lay claim to land endowments if they had been displaced from their original lands. With Mexico’s opening up to a global economy, the 1992 reform signalled the end of restitution. The Programme of Certification of Individual Rights to Farm Plots, Common Land and Urban Lots (PROCEDE) presently promotes individual titling of former communal lands. For the Nahuas, the reform portends neoliberal restructuring: it paves the way for land sale, and for the division of their communities through the reduction or potential elimination of communal landholdings, which they view as ethnic spaces. I analyse a case of indigenous organizing and argue that terminating restitution is counterproductive to nation-building at a time when Mexico has declared multiculturalism the new brand of nationalism.