Not understanding complete/open order fulfillment API endpoints

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I created an order which had 2 line items, and created an order fulfillment for one of the line items. At this point the fulfillment status for the order is "partial", the fulfillment status for the first line item is success/complete and the fulfillment status for the 2nd line item is null because no order fulfillments have been created for it. What I don't understand is that these endpoints are described as moving an existing order fulfillment from pending status to open or complete, but how would I ever get an individual order fulfillment to pending status to try it? Is the only way to use an external fulfillment service?