Community engagement (CE) in research is valuable for instrumental and intrinsic reasons. Despite existing guidance on how to ensure meaningful CE, much of what it takes to achieve this goal differs across settings. Considering the emerging trend towards mandating CE in many research studies, this qualitative study involving respondents experienced in HIV/AIDS biomedical research involving CE (data collected between August 2019 and August 2020), aimed at documenting how CE is conceptualized and implemented. It also provides context-specific guidance on how researchers and research regulators in Uganda could think about and manage CE in research. Ultimately, the study suggests that existing guidance on how to conduct robust CE in research is no substitute for creativity, flexibility, and reflexivity on the part of both researchers and research regulators.