New data on the metamorphic petrology and zircon geochronology of high-grade rocks in the central Mozambique Belt (MB) of Tanzania show that this part of the orogen consists of Archean and Palaeoproterozoic material that was structurally reworked during the Pan-African event. The metamorphic rocks are characterized by a clockwise P-T path, followed by strong decompression, and the time of peak granulite facies metamorphism is similar to other granulite terranes in Tanzania. The predominant rock types are mafic to intermediate granulites, migmatites, granitoid orthogneisses and kyanite/sillimanite-bearing metapelites. The meta-granitoid rocks are of calc-alkaline composition, range in age from late Archean to Neoproterozoic, and their protoliths were probably derived from magmatic arcs during collisional processes. Mafic to intermediate granulites consist of the mineral assemblage garnet-clinopyroxene-plagioclase-quartz-biotite-amphibole +/- K-feldspar +/- orthopyroxene +/- oxides. Metapelites are composed of garnet-biotite-plagioclase +/- K-feldspar +/- kyanite/sillimanite +/- oxides. Estimated values for peak granulite facies metamorphism are 12-13 kbar and 750-800degreesC. Pressures of 5-8 kbar and temperatures of 550-700degreesC characterize subsequent retrogression to amphibolite facies conditions. Evidence for a clockwise P-T path is provided by late growth of sillimanite after kyanite in metapelites. Zircon ages indicate that most of the central part of the MB in Tanzania consists of reworked ancient crust as shown by Archean (c. 2970-2500 Ma) and Palaeoproterozoic (c. 2124-1837 Ma) protolith ages. Metamorphic zircon from metapelites and granitoid orthogneisses yielded ages of c. 640 Ma which are considered to date peak regional granulite facies metamorphism during the Pan-African orogenic event. However, the available zircon ages for the entire MB in East Africa and Madagascar also document that peak metamorphic conditions were reached at different times in different places. Large parts of the MB in central Tanzania consist of Archean and Palaeoproterozoic material that was reworked during the Pan-African event and that may have been part of the Tanzania Craton and Usagaran domain farther to the west.