So what's the point? Surely this would only be an issue if the attacker had already broken in, and turned off php support?
If an attacker has already done this then this particular hardening is pointless. An attacker is unlikely to turn off PHP execution though as that would require more effort and would actually be harder for no gain. It would also make it very obvious you'd been hacked.
wp-config.php contains secrets so this adds an additional layer of security. There is no specific thing it prevents, much like how adding an third wall around a castle doesn't convey any protection the second wall doesn't, it just adds extra obstacles.
Try not to think of things as "secure" or "not secure", that's not how website security works. In the same way that your site is neither "hard" or "soft", you can make it harder, or more secure though.
What's more likely is that while poking around in the server, you make a silly typo or mistake that lists all PHP files as plaintext, so an attack goes to
wp-config.php to read your database details but gets a forbidden HTTP code back instead. But the chances of this are incredibly slim.