Land degradation is rising in Northern Ghana and the national government and various NGOs are seeking to address and to prevent the derivative consequences of this development. Unsustainable farming practice contributes to land degradation, and agricultural extension service is a shared means of intervention for the promotion of sustainable farming. By taking a deeper look at the state-NGO-society dynamics, the work provides an analysis of the consequences of actors'' different understandings and approaches to unsustainable land management. The analysis is focused around the interplay between historical political discourses, national policies and specific NGO interventions with relation to extension services. The analysis casts light on power relations and their influence on land management in Northern Ghana. Despite the fact that the government and the NGO used as a case are placed within different discourses regarding views on small-scale farmers'' capabilities, there are indications that the gap between the two actors is closing. An increasing emphasis on decentralisation and participation is creating new opportunities and room for manoeuvre for more actors.