This paper critically re-examines collaborative learning practices in teamwork in an undergraduate business degree. Using a socio-material approach, we reflexively interrogate the spatio-temporal dimensions of collaborative learning, by focusing on metaphors-in-use in the core curriculum. The research draws upon: the lived experiences of the authors; the perceptions of interviewed academics; and, written reflections of undergraduates enrolled in a cross-disciplinary capstone subject. The findings demonstrate that such an approach reconstitutes the performance of collaborative learning in teamwork, disrupting the taken-for-granted discursive boundaries of ‘real world’ chimera embedded in business curricula. The dualities and invocations constructed by ‘the real world’ metaphor, reinforces a realist ontology in which the context is static, stable and bounded. In this paper we examine the notion of teamwork as a ‘dead metaphor’ or cliché as a means of exploring these conceptual and practice anomalies and ambiguities that are embedded in ubiquitous terms. A relational ontology reconstitutes the higher education milieu and collaborative learning in teams by collapsing the taken-for-granted spatio-temporal boundaries opening new spaces for critique of extant pedagogical practice and the scope for alternate approaches to capstone development.