One of the current challenges of human society lies in navigating the safe operating space defined by the planetary boundaries while reaching the aspirational Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is not a challenge that can be tackled everywhere in the same way. It is thus vital to ground the pursuit of the SDGs in locally prevalent worldviews and reflect specific contexts in developing coherent pathways. In addressing the need to couple global concerns with local aspirations and conditions, this paper introduces a stakeholder-based approach for visioning and exploring sustainable development pathways to meet the SDGs, inclusive to marginalized voices and facilitating a context-sensitive exploration of alternative futures. The approach departs from the Three horizons framework, a participatory approach developed for groups to think about transformative change. We present the benefits and challenges of the adapted approach in relation to an illustrative case study, the 2018 African Dialogue on The World In 2050, deliberating future pathways for agriculture and food systems in Africa. The key contribution of the paper is twofold. First, we detail the premises and steps of the Three Horizons for the SDGs (3H4SDG) approach. Second, we summarize the results of a pilot application of the approach -four alternative pathways for how food systems and agriculture can contribute to meeting the SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa, integrated with the worldviews entangled in the narratives of the participating stakeholders. We conclude that participatory approaches grounded in systems thinking represent a promising way to link local aspirations with global goals.