I am amazed by the statement that the Bios can't detect the hard disk but an installation CD can.
The installation CD relies on the information from the Bios.
For creating a bootable CD just follow the Chapter 3.1 of the Grub Manual. In a nutshell it involves dd two files called stage1 and stage2 files into a floppy. The stage1 and stage2 can be "sourced" from any Linux Live CD that supports Grub.
When you boot up this Grub floppy just type
which will display all the partitions of the 1st disk (hd0), 2nd disk (hd1) and 3rd disk (hd2) and so on.
If Grub can't see it you haven't got one chance in hell to boot it by Grub.
At this point Grub is loaded but no Linux kernel around. Thus Grub deals directly with your hardware.
If you claim the installation CD can see your hard disk that mean you can install a Linux inside, right?
You can ask the Linux boot loader to duplicate a bootable floppy.
If it is a Lilo the command is
If it is a Grub the the equivalent command is
The above is a copy of the boot loader to allow a user to boot the installed Linux from a floppy.