Conventional agricultural practices rely heavily on chemical fertilizers to boost production. Among the fertilizers, phosphatic fertilizers are copiously used to ameliorate low-phosphate availability in the soil. However, phosphorus-use efficiency (PUE) for major cereals, including maize, is less than 30%; resulting in more than half of the applied phosphate being lost to the environment. Rock phosphate reserves are finite and predicted to exhaust in near future with the current rate of consumption. Thus, the dependence of modern agriculture on phosphatic fertilizers poses major food security and sustainability challenges. Strategies to optimize and improve PUE, like genetic interventions to develop high PUE cultivars, could have a major impact in this area. Here, we present the current understanding and recent advances in the biological phenomenon of phosphate uptake, translocation, and adaptive responses of plants under phosphate deficiency, with special reference to maize. Maize is one of the most important cereal crops that is cultivated globally under diverse agro-climatic conditions. It is an industrial, feed and food crop with multifarious uses and a fast-rising global demand and consumption. The interesting aspects of diversity in the root system architecture traits, the interplay between signaling pathways contributing to PUE, and an in-depth discussion on promising candidate genes for improving PUE in maize are elaborated.