Three indigenous Mozambican cattle breeds, namely the Angone, Landim and Bovino de Tete were characterized using six proteins, 13 autosomal microsatellite loci and one Y-specific microsatellite locus (INRA124). The Mashona breed from Zimbabwe was also studied to elucidate the origin of the Bovino de Tete cattle. Expected mean heterozygosity ranged from 0.46 - 0.50 in the proteins and from 0.66 - 0.69 in the microsatellites. Population genetic variability was relatively high when compared to other African breeds. Only 4.5% of the total genetic variation could be attributed to the differences among the breeds. DA genetic distances and principal component analysis suggest that Mozambican breeds occupy an intermediate position between Indian Zebu and African taurine cattle. The genetic contribution from Indian Zebu, estimated by mR and average percentage of Zebu diagnostic alleles, was highest in the Angone breed and lowest in the Landim breed. The indicine Y-specific allele was fixed in the Angone breed (classified as Zebu), was found in 62% of the Bovino de Tete breed and was absent in the Landim breed (classified as Sanga). The hybrid nature of these breeds was also revealed by using an admixture model to infer population structure. Cluster analysis correctly assigned individuals to their rightful populations with probabilities ranging from 0.96 to 0.98, using prior population information. The results support the hypothesis of the Bovino de Tete cattle being a result of crossbreeding between Sanga and Zebu breeds. This study presents the first extensive information on the genetic diversity and relationships among Mozambican cattle breeds and with other breeds from different continents.