The oxygen-atom-transfer (OAT) reactivity of [LiPrMoO2(OPh)] (1, LiPr=hydrotris(3-isopropylpyrazol-1-yl)borate) with the tertiary phosphines PEt3 and PPh2Me in acetonitrile was investigated. The first step, [LiPrMoO2(OPh)]+PR3-->[LiPrMoO(OPh)(OPR3)], follows a second-order rate law with an associative transition state (PEt3, DeltaH not equal=48.4 (+/-1.9) kJ mol-1, DeltaS not equal=-149.2 (+/-6.4) J mol-1 K-1, DeltaG not equal=92.9 kJ mol-1; PPh2Me, DeltaH not equal=73.4 (+/-3.7) kJ mol-1, DeltaS not equal=-71.9 (+/-2.3) J mol-1 K-1, DeltaG not equal=94.8 kJ mol-1). With PMe3 as a model substrate, the geometry and the free energy of the transition state (TS) for the formation of the phosphine oxide-coordinated intermediate were calculated. The latter, 95 kJ mol-1, is in good agreement with the experimental values. An unexpectedly large O-P-C angle calculated for the TS suggests that there is significant O-nucleophilic attack on the P--C sigma* in addition to the expected nucleophilic attack of the P on the Mo==O pi*. The second step of the reaction, that is, the exchange of the coordinated phosphine oxide with acetonitrile, [LiPrMoO(OPh)(OPR3)]+MeCN-->[LiPrMoO(OPh)(MeCN)]+OPR3, follows a first-order rate law in MeCN. A dissociative interchange (Id) mechanism, with activation parameters of DeltaH not equal=93.5 (+/-0.9) kJ mol-1, DeltaS not equal=18.2 (+/-3.3) J mol-1 K-1, DeltaG not equal=88.1 kJ mol-1 and DeltaH not equal=97.9 (+/-3.4) kJ mol-1, DeltaS not equal=47.3 (+/-11.8) J mol-1 K-1, DeltaG not equal=83.8 kJ mol-1, for [LiPrMoO(OPh)(OPEt3)] (2 a) and [LiPrMoO(OPh)(OPPh2Me)] (2 b), respectively, is consistent with the experimental data. Although gas-phase calculations indicate that the Mo--OPMe3 bond is stronger than the Mo--NCMe bond, solvation provides the driving force for the release of the phosphine oxide and formation of [LiPrMoO(OPh)(MeCN)] (3).