In this article we present a novel approach for diffusion MRI global tractography. Our formulation models the signal in each voxel as a linear combination of fiber-tract basis func- tions, which consist of a comprehensive set of plausible fiber tracts that are locally compatible with the measured MR signal. This large dictionary of candidate fibers is directly estimated from the data and, subsequently, efficient convex optimization techniques are used for recovering the smallest subset globally best fitting the measured signal. Experimen- tal results conducted on a realistic phantom demonstrate that our approach significantly reduces the computational cost of global tractography while still attaining a reconstruction quality at least as good as the state-of-the-art global methods.