This article contributes to the growing scholarship on local development practitioners by re-examining conceptualizations of practitioners as ‘brokers’ strategically translating between ‘travelling’ (development institution) rationalities and ‘placed’ (recipient area) rationalities in relation to the development ‘interface’. It argues that local development practitioners, as a result of unconscious dispositions linked to a growing ‘development legacy’, habitually employ a simultaneity of rationalities. Based on fieldwork in northern Ghana conducted in the context of changing development discourse, policy and practice spurred by new challenges deriving from climate change anxiety, the study shows how local practitioners often make local activities fit into travelling development rationalities as a matter of habit, rather than as a conscious strategy. They may therefore cease to ‘translate’ between different rationalities. This is shown to have important implications for theory, research and practice concerning disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in which such translation is often expected.