This study analyses the manner in which a higher education institution (HEI) – namely, the University of Pretoria – is internationalising, while taking into account the dual imperatives of national development needs and of competing and integrating with an increasingly interdependent and globalised world. These dual imperatives and the challenges they pose are referred to in this study as the “dual development challenge”. By focusing on the responses of one university, the study provides useful insights into how other HEIs might understand their role and ability to internationalise and address both national needs and global issues. The study thus has several key findings relative to HEIs and how they might address the “dual development challenge”, as well as findings regarding the internationalisation of higher education (HE). In terms of addressing the “dual development challenge”, the study demonstrates how one university’s ambitious and enthusiastic pursuit of its international research agenda and its focus on individual agents and collective individual agents as facilitators of that research agenda, allows it to pursue a “developmental settlement” while internationalising. Although it is marked by contestations and contradictions, the pursuit of this developmental settlement consists of a communal ambition that the university’s international activities and actions provide key catalysts to its contributions to both national development and global competitiveness and integration. With regard to internationalisation of HE, the study challenges notions that individualism is negative and that holistic, campus-wide and/or comprehensive internationalisation must be confined to a specific set of criteria. These two findings are linked, and thus the study’s key finding and argument is that a primary method of engaging with internationalisation within the context of the dual development challenge is through the pursuit of a developmental settlement, which can depend greatly on the development of individuals, their research and the building of their individual capacities. As such, the participation in international research activities and networks by individual and collective individual agents at an HEI can build their capacity both in terms of their professional abilities and their influence on other individuals, institutions and the nation, while at the same time allowing them to contribute to the global competitiveness and integration status of the HEI. Ultimately, the central thesis of this study is that internationalisation, via the support and activities of individual and collective individual agents, is a primary facilitator of a university’s abilities to address and contribute to both national and global developmental imperatives.