Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the causative agent of diphtheria, a toxin mediated disease of upper respiratory tract, which can be fatal. As a member of the CMNR group, C. diphtheriae is closely related to members of the genera Mycobacterium, Nocardia and Rhodococcus. Almost all members of these genera comprise an outer membrane layer of mycolic acids, which is assumed to influence host-pathogen interactions. In this study, three different C. diphtheriae strains were investigated in respect to their interaction with phagocytic murine and human cells and the invertebrate infection model Caenorhabditis elegans. Our results indicate that C. diphtheriae is able to delay phagolysosome maturation after internalization in murine and human cell lines. This effect is independent of the presence of mycolic acids, as one of the strains lacked corynomycolates. In addition, analyses of NF-κB induction revealed a mycolate-independent mechanism and hint to detrimental effects of the different strains tested on the phagocytic cells. Bioinformatics analyses carried out to elucidate the reason for the lack of mycolates in one of the strains led to the identification of a new gene involved in mycomembrane formation in C. diphtheriae.