Africanus Fabius Maximus was the younger son of Quintus Fabius Maximus (consul 45BCE) and an unknown wife. Although commonly referred to as 'Africanus Fabius Maximus', it remains unclear whether that was his official name or whether it was 'Quintus Fabius Maximus Africanus'. His elder brother was Paullus Fabius Maximus (consul 11BCE) and his sister was Fabia Paullina, who married Marcus Titius.
It is believed that Africanus was named in honour of his natural great-great-great or great-great-great-great uncle Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus.
The career of Africanus Fabius Maximus is much less clear than that of his brother. It is proposed that the earliest post of Africanus was as a military tribune in Spain, though this is not certain. His only two certain posts were as ordinary consul in 10 BCE (with Iullus Antonius), and as proconsul of Africa in 6/5 BCE.
It was during his tenure as proconsul of Africa that Africanus struck some coins that bore his own image.
Although no wife is attested for Africanus, it is possible that he had a daughter named Fabia Numantina. Alternatively, she may have been the daughter of Africanus' brother, Paullus Fabius Maximus and his wife, Marcia.