The plan can be treated as a roadmap. With the right inputs, like correct estimation statistics and velocity, you have a close estimate to how long the plan will take to execute. You can adjust the inputs and parameters of the plan without committing data back to Jira. More info here:
Yes, the plan will be able to cross projects and give you that big picture. I recommend cloning your prod environment and testing portfolio with that data. The only trick is that the estimation statistics and development methodology needs to be the same accross projects. It won't work if you have one agile team and one waterfall team, since the estimation and work styles are different between projects.
You can think of a Portfolio plan as a large container for issues from multiple boards or projects that you wish to plan and track progress of.
If your organization has multiple roadmaps(different products/work streams) I would recommend to create multiple plans. We recently introduced a new feature called programs, which allow you to connect multiple Portfolio plans to get a high level view of your organization's roadmap.
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