The idea of a company town began well before industrialization with logging, and mining.
At the time, the British empire still controlled many of the global imports including rubber from Sri Lanka. For a man like Henry Ford, who was always looking to cut costs, and make his processes more efficient, it would not work to buy rubber at the premiums the British demanded. He was also a man who wished to see if the ideals he had built his company on could be spread to other parts of the less developed world. The solution was to find an alternative source. In the case of the rubber tree, the only option was the rainforests of Brazil.
Ford went to the Brazilian government and purchased land along the Tapajos river, with an agreement that would give him nearly 250 acres with export tax exemption, in exchange for a percentage of profits. Ford’s reputation preceded him, and he most certainly overpaid, but the rest of Brazil began to speculate what one of the world’s leading industrialists would bring to their country. His ideas were highly ambitious, but probably not the type of investment Brazilians were hoping for.