Through an exploration of the global agri-food policy field, we argue that global public policymaking points to a clear and relatively strict division of labour between international organizations. We describe four interconnected concomitant processes contributing to the diffusion and hegemony of the market referential in this field. The first is the dissemination process of orthodox economic ideas by the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, notably through the lenses of the close relationship they foster with academic economics. Second, beside this ‘soft’ diffusion of ideas, ‘hard’ imposition mechanisms apply (World Trade Organization rules, World Bank loans). Third, sectoral international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, appear unable to define their own path for policies. Their policy work is either directly or indirectly supervised by the former organizations. The fourth is a privatization process, through growing transnational private regulation, which further deepens the marketization process at stake through its use of voluntary standards.