I had an issue close to this one...
After I had created my surface, only the border would show up, no contours. I could place my cursor with the border and it would show an elevation; so I knew the surface was created despite the lack of contour lines. I guessed maybe that my major and minor contours were invisible and that's what it was.
Under toolspace, click the settings tab on the side. Expand surface, expand surface styles, and then right click your surface style and click edit. Check the display tab to see if your major and minor contours are visible.
Hope this helps!!