We investigated the assembly of cortical nodes that generate the cytokinetic contractile ring in fission yeast. Observations of cells expressing fluorescent fusion proteins revealed two types of interphase nodes. Type 1 nodes containing kinase Cdr1p, kinase Cdr2p, and anillin Mid1p form in the cortex around the nucleus early in G2. Type 2 nodes with protein Blt1p, guanosine triphosphate exchange factor Gef2p, and kinesin Klp8p emerge from contractile ring remnants. Quantitative measurements and computer simulations showed that these two types of nodes come together by a diffuse-and-capture mechanism: type 2 nodes diffuse to the equator and are captured by stationary type 1 nodes. During mitosis, cytokinetic nodes with Mid1p and all of the type 2 node markers incorporate into the contractile ring, whereas type 1 nodes with Cdr1p and Cdr2p follow the separating nuclei before dispersing into the cytoplasm, dependent on septation initiation network signaling. The two types of interphase nodes follow parallel branches of the pathway to prepare nodes for cytokinesis.