This paper provides an analysis of findings from a Zimbabwe case study of an 11-country research and dialogue project that examines what drives a resilient national social contract in countries affected by conflict, fragility or with unresolved political settlements. It examines the value of three proposed ‘drivers’ of a resilient national social contract, and their intersections, and how this contributes to peace. The paper argues that Zimbabwe’s attempts at political settlement have failed to address core issues driving conflict emanating from the colonial rule. They have also failed to provide an inclusive basis for a nationally owned social contract. International actors have played a part in this, by among other things supporting agreements and processes that compromise the forging of robust institutions, limit ability to address CCIs and deliver services. The paper concludes by suggesting critical pathways towards this end, including transforming Zimbabwe’s deep state and related institutions, harnessing Zimbabwe’s resilience capacities and strengthening social cohesion.