Recognizing successful climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices is not enough for them to be adopted at scale. At many sites, government or development-led interventions to promote CSA practices face low adoption rates or are not adopted at all. Data shows that CSA adoption depends on drivers and constraints beyond the CSA practices. Blanket adoption of a specific intervention should never be assumed: the adoption of CSA practices is usually patchy because of many conditions. Some drivers of adoption, such as market access or climate variability, are universally positive across countries and regions, creating a positive environment for adoption. Other drivers are important in site-specific contexts. Investing in understanding and communicating drivers and the conditions under which specific interventions are likely to thrive could increase adoption rates and overall return on investments.