The majority of institutional entrepreneurship studies focus on explaining the concept of institutional entrepreneurship through organizational factors with little reference to individual and state. This study explores how institutional entrepreneurship has shaped the development of Abu Dhabi from the 1960s until 2011. We argue that the process of development of Abu Dhabi has been the outcome of institutional entrepreneurial actions. The chapter utilizes a historical longitudinal study approach, combined with in-depth interviews. While the majority of research on institutional entrepreneurship concentrates on Western countries with established modern institutions, little is known about institutional entrepreneurship in contexts where modern institutions are absent. This research focuses on a setting in which all modern institutions were absent when the modernization of Abu Dhabi began in the 1960s. Our evidence shows that in this setting, institutional entrepreneurship manifested through an embedded form of state and individuals acting as institutional entrepreneurs and offering new insights into institutional entrepreneurship research.