Sustained is being used in its sense of "prolonged" or "maintained for a long time without a break". "Sustain" comes from Latin teneō, meaning "I hold", plus the prefix sub meaning "underneath" or "pushing up from below"—in other words, "I hold (something) up." In English, the word still conveys a feeling of expending effort or energy to keep something going. For example, to "sustain" a musical note means to hold it for a long duration.
So, in your example sentence, sustained investment means continued investment for many years. "Sustained" is a nicer word choice than "continued", though, because of that suggestion of deliberate effort in addition to continuing without a break for a long time.
By the way, this illustrates why the etymology in a dictionary definition is often worthwhile to read. It often sheds light on the "core" meaning of a word, which has spread into a few related or specialized meanings over the centuries.