Background Rotavirus vaccines have been adopted in African countries since 2009, including Mozambique (2015). Disease burden data are needed to evaluate the impact of rotavirus vaccine. We report the burden of rotavirus-associated diarrhea in Mozambique from the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) before vaccine introduction. Methods A case-control study (GEMS), was conducted in Manhiça district, recruiting children aged 0-59 months with moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) and less-severe-diarrhea (LSD) between December 2007 and November 2012; including 1-3 matched (age, sex and neighborhood) healthy community controls. Clinical and epidemiological data and stool samples (for laboratory investigation) were collected. Association of rotavirus with MSD or LSD was determined by conditional logistic regression and adjusted attributable fractions (AF) calculated, and risk factors for rotavirus diarrhea assessed. Results Overall 915 cases and 1,977 controls for MSD, and 431 cases and 430 controls for LSD were enrolled. Rotavirus positivity was 44% (217/495) for cases and 15% (160/1046) of controls, with AF = 34.9% (95% CI: 32.85-37.06) and adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) of 6.4 p Conclusion The implementation of vaccination against rotavirus may likely result in a significant reduction of rotavirus-associated diarrhea, suggesting the need for monitoring of vaccine impact.