The new potentially tetradentate ligand precursor 2-[(bis(2-hydroxyethyl) amino)methyl]-4,6-bis-tert-butylphenol (H3L) has been synthesized and characterized. The reaction of H3L with cobalt(ii) acetate has afforded the novel mixed-valent tetra- and pentanuclear cobalt complexes [CoII 2CoIII 2(OAc) 2(L)2(HL)] (1) and [CoIICoIII 4(OAc)2(L)4] (2). Single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies of these complexes indicate different coordination geometries for the divalent cobalt centres in each complex, with distorted trigonal bipyramidal and distorted tetrahedral coordination evident in 1 and 2, respectively. The variable temperature magnetic susceptibility data for complex 1 reveal behaviour dominated by antiferromagnetic coupling between the two cobalt(ii) centres. Their approximate trigonal bipyramidal coordination geometries give rise to a 4A′2 ground term, allowing a spin-only treatment assuming local spin quantum numbers of Si = 3/2. Fitting the data to the Heisenberg exchange Hamiltonian (ex = 2JS1S2) results in J = 6.9(1) cm-1 and g = 2.30(5).