We show that QCD instantons can generate large effects at small length scales in the ultraviolet in standard composite Higgs models that utilise partial compositeness. This has important implications for possible solutions of the strong CP problem in these models. First, we show that in the simplest known UV completions of composite Higgs models, if an axion is also present, it can have a mass much larger than the usual QCD axion. Even more remarkable is the case where there are no axions, but the strong CP problem can be solved by generating the up-quark mass entirely from the contribution of instantons thus reviving the massless up-quark solution for these models. In both cases no additional field content is required apart from what is required to realise partial compositeness.