Biodiversity conservation and agricultural production are often seen as mutually exclusive objectives. Strategies for reconciling them are intensely debated. We argue that harmonization between biodiversity conservation and crop production can be improved by increasing our understanding of the underlying relationships between them. We provide a general conceptual framework that links biodiversity and agricultural production through the separate relationships between land use and biodiversity and between land use and production. Hypothesized relationships are derived by synthesizing existing empirical and theoretical ecological knowledge. The framework suggests nonlinear relationships caused by the multifaceted impacts of land use (composition, configuration, and intensity). We propose solutions for overcoming the apparently dichotomous aims of maximizing either biodiversity conservation or agricultural production and suggest new hypotheses that emerge from our proposed framework.