WebDriverIO does not resolve to a client/session/instance

I have two identical javascript test (Jest) scripts.

const webdriverio = require("webdriverio");

const capabilities = {
    platformName: 'Android',
    automationName: 'UiAutomator2',
    deviceName: "Pixel_5_API_33",
    app: "/app/android/app/build/outputs/apk/debug/app-arm64-v8a-debug.apk",
    appPackage: "<secret>",
    appActivity: "<secret>",
  };

const serverConfig = {
    path: '/wd/hub',
    host: 'localhost',
    port: 4723, 
};  

const androidOptions = { capabilities, ...serverConfig }

describe('Create Android session', function () {
  let client;

  beforeAll(async function () {
    client = await webdriverio.remote(androidOptions);
    console.log("CLIENT?", client)
  }, 60000);

  it('should create and destroy a session', async function () {
    const res = await client.status();
    expect(res.build).not.toBe(null); 

    const current_package = await client.getCurrentPackage();
    expect(current_package).toBe('nl.mywheels.app');

    const delete_session = await client.deleteSession();
    expect(delete_session).toBe(null);
  });
}); 

One running in an isolated npm project (bare minimum) and it works flawlessly.

But - the same identical test in my company repo does not. It seems

webdriverio.remote(withIdenticalAndroidOptions) 

does not resolve and the test times out.
Both tests talk to the same Appium server ([email protected])
In Appium it never goes beyond:

[HTTP] <-- POST /wd/hub/session 200 4187 ms - 1175
[HTTP]

What could be going on here?