© 2015 The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union. Climate change poses a serious global challenge in the face of rapidly increasing human demand for energy and food. A recent phenomenon in which climate change may play an important role is the acquisition of large tracts of land in the developing world by governments and corporations. In the target countries, where land is relatively inexpensive, the potential to increase crop yields is generally high and property rights are often poorly defined. By acquiring land, investors can realize large profits and countries can substantially alter the land and water resources under their control, thereby changing their outlook for meeting future demand. While the drivers, actors, and impacts involved with land deals have received substantial attention in the literature, we propose that climate change plays an important yet underappreciated role, both through its direct effects on agricultural production and through its influence on mitigative or adaptive policy decisions. Drawing from various literature sources as well as a new global database on reported land deals, we trace the evolution of the global land rush and highlight prominent examples in which the role of climate change is evident. We find that climate change - both historical and anticipated - interacts substantially with drivers of land acquisitions, having important implications for the resilience of communities in targeted areas. As a result of this synthesis, we ultimately contend that considerations of climate change should be integrated into future policy decisions relating to the large-scale land acquisitions.