The out-of equilibrium dynamics of the Hamiltonian Mean Field (HMF) model is studied in presence of an externally imposed magnetic field h. Lynden-Bell’s theory of violent relaxation is revisited and shown to adequately capture the system dynamics, as revealed by direct Vlasov based numerical simulations in the limit of vanishing field. This includes the existence of an out-of-equilibrium phase transition separating magnetized and non magnetized phases. We also monitor the fluctuations in time of the magnetization, which allows us to elaborate on the choice of the correct order parameter when challenging the performance of Lynden-Bell’s theory. The presence of the field h removes the phase transition, as it happens at equilibrium. Moreover, regions with negative susceptibility are numerically found to occur, in agreement with the predictions of the theory.