I am able to reproduce this locally by using the "ssh" runner on a
manually started QEMU instance, instead of the "qemu" runner directly;
so this is much easier to investigate.

First this needs a small new feature in autopkgtest's ssh runner:
. Easiest to just run autopkgtest from git (see reproducer below).

 * Take a standard autopkgtest yakkety image (autopkgtest-buildvm-
ubuntu-cloud) and run it in QEMU:

  qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 4096 -smp 2 -nographic -drive
file=path/to/autopkgtest-yakkety-amd64.img,if=virtio -net
nic,model=virtio -net user,hostfwd=tcp::22000-:22

 * Log in (ubuntu/ubuntu) and scp/install your host's ssh key info

 * Run the test:

   git clone https://anonscm.debian.org/git/autopkgtest/autopkgtest.git
   autopkgtest/runner/autopkgtest --testname ubuntu-regression-suite linux -- 
ssh -H localhost -l ubuntu -p 22000 --reboot --capability=isolation-machine 
--capability=revert --capability=revert-full-system

This takes an hour or so, then the test fails with "testbed failure:
testbed auxverb failed with exit code 255" and the console (in qemu) is
completely dead. So notably this fails later than on the production
infra (where it OOM-kills sshd during AppArmor tests), here it fails
right after

  12:39:40 DEBUG| [stdout] selftests: breakpoint_test [PASS]

but this could be variance due to the infra instances having more CPUs
and memory, or it's just an artifact of truncating the log earlier.

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  linux autopkgtest kills sshd in testbed

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