The agricultural innovation systems (AIS) in many Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries lack the structural capacities to support smallholder-inclusive innovation. Multi-stakeholder Innovation Platforms (IPs) have been proposed as systemic instruments to improve the functioning and building of the structural capacities of the Innovation System (IS). This article studies the role of state-initiated IPs and multilevel Agriculture Development Partners Linkage Advisory Councils (ADPLACs) in tackling the systemic problems of the AIS in Tigray, Ethiopia. After studying policy documents, in-depth interviews were conducted with various participants of ADPLACs. The results show that the contribution of ADPLAC in building the structural capacities is limited; due to the absence of some important enabling factors and the presence of several intertwined constraints. The major finding of this study is that the interlocked nature of the systemic problems constrained the functioning of the platform, indicating the need for combining IPs with other systemic instruments, to overcome the lock-in.