The release of phosphorus (P) stored in the sediment may cause long-term delay in the recovery of lakes, ponds, and lagoons from eutrophication. In this paper, we tested on a laboratory scale the efficacy of the flocculant polyaluminium chloride (PAC) and a strong P-binding agent (lanthanum-modified bentonite, LMB) on their ability to flocculate a cyanobacterial bloom and hamper P release from a hypertrophic, brackish lagoon sediment. In addition, critical P loading was estimated through PCLake. We showed that cyanobacteria could be effectively settled using a PAC dose of 2 mg Al L−1 combined with 400-mg L−1 LMB; PAC 8 mg Al L−1 alone could also remove cyanobacteria, although its performance was improved adding low concentrations of LMB. The efficacy of LMB to bind P released from the sediment was tested based on potentially available sediment P. A dose of 400 g LMB m−2 significantly reduced the P release from sediment to over-standing water (either deionized water or water from the lagoon with and without cyanobacteria). In sediment cores, LMB + PAC reduced sediment P flux from 9.9 (± 3.3) to − 4.6 (± 0.3) mg P m−2 day−1 for the experimental period of 3 months. The internal P load was 14 times higher than the estimated P critical load (0.7 mg P m−2 day−1), thus even if all the external P sources would be ceased, the water quality will not improve promptly. Hence, the combined LMB + PAC treatment seems a promising in-lake intervention to diminish internal P load bellow the critical load. Such intervention is able to speed up recovery in the brackish lagoon once external loading has been tackled and at a cost of less than 5% of the estimated dredging costs.