Addressing corruption in fragile and conflict-affected environments is constrained by the risk that reforms can spark violent resistance. Two different political economies of corruption in fragile states – distinguished by the character of elite politics – affect the way corruption manifests itself. The differences have important implications for anti-corruption programming. Gradualism, changing elite incentives, and creating political space for reforms are approaches to emphasise. Anti-corruption institutions can be access points for reforms when underlying conditions are conducive.