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Here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. VirtualBox is VERY slow to boot service VMs. I would check the nova console logs to make sure your service VM has finished booting. While it is booting, Octavia will keep retrying to connect with the above message.
  2. Octavia does not have any dependency on the neutron ML2 selection. Linux bridge and OVS both work just fine.
  3. This initial network connection from the Octavia worker process to the amphora is over the "lb-mgmt-net", which is a neutron network setup by the operator to handle the command/control traffic to/from the service VMs. It uses the network configured in the "[controller_worker]amp_boot_network_list" setting. Check that this network is the network you intend the controller processes to communicate with the amphora over.

I suspect the lb-mgmt-network is not setup correctly or the configuration has the wrong network ID in it.