The spatial mismatch between population growth and settlement expansion is at the base of current models of urban growth. Empirical evidence is increasingly required to inform planning measures promoting urban containment in the context of a stable (or declining) population. In these regards, per-capita indicators of land-use change can be adopted with the aim of evaluating the long-term sustainability of urbanization processes. The present study assesses spatial variations in per-capita indicators of land-use change in Rome, Central Italy, at five years (1949, 1974, 1999, 2008, and 2016) with the final objective of quantifying the mismatch between urban expansion and population growth. Originally specialized in agricultural productions, Rome’s metropolitan area is a paradigmatic example of dispersed urban expansion in the Mediterranean basin. By considering multiple land-use dynamics, per-capita indicators of landscape change delineated three distinctive waves of growth corresponding with urbanization, suburbanization, and a more mixed stage with counter-urbanization and re-urbanization impulses. By reflecting different socioeconomic contexts on a local scale, urban fabric and forests were identified as the ‘winner’ classes, expanding homogeneously overtime at the expense of cropland. Agricultural landscapes experienced a more heterogeneous trend with arable land and pastures declining systematically and more fragmented land classes (e.g., vineyards and olive groves) displaying stable (or slightly increasing) trends. The continuous reduction of the per-capita surface area of cropland that supports a reduced production base, which is now insufficient to satisfy the rising demand for fresh food at the metropolitan scale, indicates the unsustainability of the current development in Rome and more generally in the whole Mediterranean basin, a region specialized traditionally in (proximity) agricultural productions.