Given the political climate, northern leaders assembling in Rotherham may have been expecting a visiting Prime Minister with an upcoming General Election in his sights to arrive with a bagful of metaphorical sweeties under his arm.
One told me his message to the PM in advance of his visit to South Yorkshire was to "bring your chequebook", while local enterprise partnership chairman Roger Marsh told the audience of the £6bn in investment needed for West Yorkshire to catch up with the South East.
The promise of more funding to compensate for decades of under-investment in the North did not materialise in what turned out to be a typical Boris Johnson speech, full of jokes and rhetorical flourishes.
Questioned by local journalists on whether new funds would be made available for a mass transit system in Leeds or to promote culture in Sheffield, he declined to commit himself.
But the general message - that of handing over control to the North to control its own destiny - addresses a compelling demand at a time when central government is in a state of grinding deadlock brought on by Brexit.
As far as devolution is concerned, his promise to open up talks with Leeds and West Yorkshire is a stark contrast to the approach under Theresa May, whose Ministers refused to countenance anything other than the stalled Sheffield City Region deal.
And with the devolution agenda potentially about to accelerate under a Prime Minister who served for eight years as London mayor, it leaves the backers of a One Yorkshire deal in a quandary.
Do they reach out and grab the more limited offer now, or try and hold out for the greater prize of a region-wide mayor with the risk more months of inertia without the powers and devolved funding enjoyed by other parts of the North?