After their entertaining opening encounter with Ghana finished 2-2, Benin had the most to rue from a dour match because they must still play defending champions Cameroon.
The best chances in each half fell to their striker Steve Mounie, who was unable to capitalise despite turning in a tireless performance.
Cameroon - the Indomitable Lions - remain top of the section on four points having won 2-0 in their initial contest against Guinea-Bissau, who against Benin offered little in pursuit of a maiden AFCON win at Ismailia Stadium.
Cameroon and Ghana's earlier stalemate left the door ajar for both group outsiders to progress, possibly contributing to a cagey opening.
A superb throughball from Benin midfielder Jordan Adeoti sent Mounie charging towards goal in the 37th minute, when the Huddersfield Town player forced Jonas Mendes to save sharply down to his left.
In a development that scarcely felt possible, the quality of creative play from each team diminished after the break and clear openings remained at a premium.
Mounie cut the ball across the six-yard box in the 66th minute but none of his team-mates were on hand to convert.
Benin's number nine slammed his hands against the crossbar in frustration when he headed over unmarked from Stephane Sessegnon's floated free-kick and there would be no way through.