1. trying hard to achieve something but with no results
put in all that effort for nothing
This expression is used to express dismay or regret over a huge amount of effort or resources being directed towards something that eventually yielded very few results: "I can't believe the sale fell through - all that effort for nothing!" This can be used in professional and social contexts. Similar expressions include 'all our efforts were in vain' and 'we have nothing to show for it'.