Project import will show a message saying: "JIRA did not find a project with key 'XXX'(project key) to import your issues into. Please create a project with key 'XXX' that contains compatible workflow and issue types"
to import a JIRA project from XML backup you need to first setup the project including all schemes like Issue Types and workflows to import the issues from XML afterwards.
Yes, I'm afraid you did waste a lot of time.
If you were on server, there are add-ons that can help you transfer config, but Cloud doesn't support them. The best you could do is take a backup of Cloud, download it and restore it on a temporary server system, then use the add-ons to transfer the configuration to production.
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