The present study evaluates the effects of inoculating AMF on growth and nutrient acquisition of chickpea and barley based on a series of pot experiments during 2 years. We tested the AMF treatment in interaction with indigenous microbes (sterilized vs. non-sterilized soil), application of additional fertilizer N or co-inoculation of chickpea with rhizobia. The effect of treatments on colonization by AMF, rhizobial nodule number and weight, plant dry matter and soil mineral N, nutrient concentration and uptake were determined in randomized complete block designs with five replications. Inoculated plants were effectively colonized by AMF and attained more dry matter than control plants in both sterilized and non-sterilized soil. Both, chickpea and barley showed growth enhancement, though the AMF colonization level was lower with barley than with chickpea. The non-sterilized soil contained no natural rhizobia strains suitable for chickpea infection, but with rhizobia inoculation nodules developed. We found hardly any consistent effect neither due to fertilizer N nor to rhizobial infection. Interactions between AMF inoculation and nitrogen nutrition were only rare. This suggests that compatible, effective rhizobia were not present in the inoculum product or their environmental demands were not fulfilled, and presumably nitrogen also was no growth limiting factor in our experiments. At maturity of chickpea and barley plants, there were significant effects of AMF inoculation on the nutrient uptake. Additional N supply was of minor importance for these effects and did not affect AMF performance. The presence of indigenous AMF did not preclude a positive response to AM inoculation in nutrient uptake and dry matter production. AMF inoculation caused a better response in chickpea than in barley when looking at the nutrient concentration, while mycorrhizal inoculation of barley improved nutrient uptake in parallel with enhanced growth. Our study confirms the enhancement of growth and nutrient acquisition due to AMF inoculation on both chickpea and barley.