Following the 2007–8 global food crisis, agricultural producers have invested in large tracts of land in developing countries. We investigate how the arrival of large-scale farms changes inter-personal trust and reciprocity, important components of social capital, in traditional villages. We elicit trust and reciprocal behaviour in villages that lie near large-scale farms and compare them with villages at a distance. Our data reveal greater trust in villages close to large-scale farms. Reciprocity is more frequent after farm employment. These results are likely driven by communal coping and reputation building. A natural field measure shows that trust correlates with public good sharing.