The short answer is no and in my opinion the biggest flaw with the API Server at the moment. I know for a fact this is something that is being worked for future releases but no idea when or exactly how it will work but it is a major update.
I work in a similar environment as you are describing and this is how I have implemented our process.
In our Dev environment we have one instance per developer, so each developer can work 100% independently. When the development is done and somewhat tested we export that sub-set of policies and check in to our version control system. We have one person responsible to deploy the exported policies into Test, which usually include updating some specific environment settings (updating URL's etc) and after this we do some regression testing.
One challenge is to be clear of what to export and not, for example LDAP connections. We have the LDAP connection already in test and we make sure this is not included in the Export but still there is a soft reference to this LDAP connection and this will work fine as long the connection is identical between the environments. This is best achieved if a "standard configuration" is made (including all settings for common flows as for example LDAP etc.) and that is being used as a base for the development environments. If there is a need to add common items, for example a new Root CA this should be done centrally and make sure all dev instances get the exact same update.
Thank You Stefan for the detailed reply and this is Very Much Appreciated as we were keenly awaiting an authoritative and corroborating answer to the problems and the pains that we were going through every day.
Your guidance on how to work around the problems is highly valuable and we will try to implement the same in our development efforts with special attention to the challenges to be taken care/addressed/thought of.
Earnest A Thomas