Bharti Airtel's 2010 purchase of Zain's telecoms operations in 15 countries cost the company $10.7bn and another $2.6bn invested since then.
In December, chairman Sunnil Bharti Mittal admitted that infrastructure demands and low-cost competition has made working in Africa more difficult than executives had expected.
So far, the company has missed all of its targets on subscriber numbers, revenue and earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation.
Chinese investors are now showing a more cautious approach.
Talks between African Barrick Gold and China National Gold fell apart in the first weeks of January as Barrick cut its production guidance for the third straight year.
Elsewhere, Sichuan Hanlong Group cut its offer for Australia's Sundance Resources, which has the right to iron ore mines in Cameroon and Congo-Brazzaville, by 21% in August 2012.
Meanwhile, the consortium of Chinese state-backed companies in the Sicomines joint venture with the Democratic Republic of Congo government is losing its initial enthusiasm.
The mines they seek to exploit are flooded and have not been developed since the deals were signed in 2009.
In Gabon, the government plans to find a new partner after cancelling China Machinery Engineering Corporation's right to the Bélinga iron ore mine last year after a series of delays in getting started●