Small family farms in most developing countries are struggling to meet the evolving food needs and challenges of households, producers, consumers, and the environmental resource base despite available interventions for sustainable production practices. Failure to adopt these practices is largely due to a perceived misalignment between investment requirements and user needs. This study will assess the extent of the misalignment between the requirements of sustainable production interventions and available investment packages; analyse associated costs, benefits, and risks; explore motivational factors influencing trade-off decisions; and assess the relationship between financing structures and decisions to allocate production resources within a crop–livestock farming system. Four models of crop livestock farming system, involving at least 40 men and women, will be implemented at community level as part of a community action research project. An analysis that takes a whole-farm approach will be conducted to obtain practical information surrounding the business case for a mixed crop-and-livestock farming system intervention in Malawi. The selected intervention has the potential to improve food security and promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, but synergies and trade-offs need to be further explored. Such action research has a high level of practical relevance in the broader context of business research, as both quantitative and qualitative analyses will be conducted to gain in-depth knowledge about the problem. It is expected that greater availability of ready-to-use, context-specific information that emanates from this research can help align the crop–livestock farming system investment needs of producers and financiers. This will contribute to improved adoption prospects for similar climate smart agriculture (CSA) interventions and hence to more resilient and sustainable livelihoods and agri-food systems.