Technology, transportation and global appetites have transformed trade relationships between near and distant countries. The impact of distant food demand on local agricultural production and trade has attracted considerable scientific scrutiny, yet little is known about how distant trade affects trade relationships and production between adjacent countries. In this paper, we explore this important issue by examining international food trade and agriculture production, which represent how distant places are connected through trade networks. By analyzing patterns of soybean, corn and wheat trading between 1991–2016 under the framework of metacoupling (human-nature interactions within, as well as between adjacent and distant systems), this study provides new insights into the spatio-temporal dynamics of trade flows. Results reveal that telecoupled (between distant countries) trade interacts with the geo-political landscape to enhance or offset intracoupled (within country) production and pericoupled (between neighboring countries) trade. Evidence from the literature and the results of autoregressive integrated moving average models indicate that when restrictions are placed on distant export routes, pericoupled trade increased. The extent to which the telecoupled food trade affected the pericoupled trade and intracoupled processes holds implications for the true extent of production driven by distant demands.