This paper discusses critical development theory in the context of the incipient global development consensus after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, 2000-2015). It interrogates the deep ambivalences within dominant development discourses towards development as constitutive and collective political dimensions, when considering the post-MDG turns towards multipolarity, humanitarianism and free trade. The paper explores examines the new priorities in relation to demands for policy relevance, evidence and effectiveness, while considering the de/re-politicising effects of these current discourses and modes of policy and practice. The intellectual history of development shows it to be a critical field of competing visions, controversies and elisions. Taking a historical and critical perspective, this paper revisits the silences and foreclosures of the emerging new development consensus.