With the rapid expansion of forest plantations worldwide, communities, NGOs and researchers are increasingly expressing their concerns about the outcomes of plantations’ activities for local households. This study investigates the perceptions of local households about forest plantations’ investments in social services and local infrastructure in rural Tanzania. We consider households living in villages adjacent to private, FSC certified forest plantations and households in villages adjacent to a state-owned, non-certified plantation. We use survey data from 338 households to analyze perceived changes in school enrolment, quality of education, and the number and quality of health centers, roads and bridges associated with investments by plantations. We use a mixed method approach and complement the results from a logistic regression model with observations of the size and quality of social services and infrastructure in the villages and with findings from focus group discussions. The results show that households in the villages adjacent to both the private, FSC certified and state-owned, non-certified forest plantations associate the plantations with improved social services and local infrastructure in the study villages. Moreover, we find that the private, FSC certified forest plantations are viewed more favorably than the state-owned, non-certified plantation in terms of their contributions to social services and local infrastructure in the study areas. Richer households tend to perceive the investments of the plantations more favorably than poorer households in the study villages.