The R educing E missions from D eforestation and F orest D egradation (REDD +) project in S ungai L amandau was I ndonesia's first forest carbon finance initiative officially proposed by a community group upon land they intended to control autonomously. However, the flagging carbon market and government licensing obstructions stalled progress towards possible monetary gains. With a focus on the agency of local farmers, we explore the ‘bundles of powers’ that they mobilised to access the other diverse and, at times, elusive set of benefits within the REDD + project. In the absence of a formal tenure and ‘carbon rights’ regime, local actors' ability to benefit from the project was dependent on social relationships, REDD + knowledge and access to local markets and capital. The result was a benefit‐sharing framework of uneven distribution.