Changes to Mexico’s Constitution in the 1990s marked the end of agrarian reform and the Revolutionary land regime which had allowed beneficiaries to work but not to sell their land. New legislation allowed individual parcels of ejido land to be converted into private property. Many observers link this ‘privatization’ with a transformation of the periurban landscape resulting from private developers’ construction of mass ‘social housing’ developments: a classic example of neoliberal urbanism. We examine evidence for the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, finding that, although some developments do occupy former ejido land, developers mostly prefer private property, including former haciendas. Private sector interests are wary of the ejido for reasons that stem from its place in the corporatist political system that characterized twentieth‐century Mexico, and the patchwork of privatized individual parcels clashes with developers’ land acquisition strategies. Ejidatarios often prefer to retain control over their land, selling plots piecemeal. Our findings demonstrate the continuing significance of urban informality—on a scale that exceeds the development of ejido land for formal housing—and the intertwining of formal and informal. We interpret these interrelated processes of housing production as legacies of corporatism, underlining the significance of political influences on Latin American neoliberalism.