I discovered the issue…
I didn’t manually create the field group I wanted to load via my plugin. I created it using ACF then exported it. When you export json from the ACF interface it includes a opening bracket at the top and a closing bracket at the bottom. See my exported json code above. These brackets need to be removed if you intend to use the json file for loading. I removed those brackets and it works.
Wow. I suggest that ACF does not include those brackets on export.
I hope others can benefit from my turmoil.
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