Simon, I believe your answer applies to the Issue Navigator, not the 'browse' view of an issue (e.g. foo.atlassian.net/browse/ABC-123), which doesn't have the gear icon to configure field visibility.
What I discovered is that the field only displays on the browse view if it has a value. Similarly, in the Issue Navigator the column will not display if the result set has no values for the column -- even if it is configured to. Applying a filter of "Story Points" >= 1 made the column appear.
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