Gen. Constantino Chiwenga had said the army was prepared to intervene to end purges within the ruling Zanu-PF party.
His comments came a week after Mr. Mugabe sacked his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has fled into exile.
But the Zanu-PF's Youth League, which backs President Mugabe's wife Grace to replace Mr. Mnangagwa, told the army chief to stay in the barracks.
Meanwhile, BBC correspondents in the capital, Harare, report that a few armored vehicles have been seen on a main public road outside the city having left one of the country's main military barracks, Inkomo.
It is not clear where they were heading but they have not been seen on the streets of Harare. One of the vehicles had broken down on the side of the road.