Public-private and multistakeholder partnerships are now embedded in the fabric of global governance. In order to effectively contribute to sustainability, partnerships must at least last long enough to pursue their goals. The recurrent theme of partnership durability that emerges through our research is significant because it highlights that partnerships are ubiquitous but also fluid features of governance. Actors convene partnerships around a set of objectives that they have agreed upon, albeit from different positions of power in negotiating them. Notably, partnerships that focused on relatively concrete and circumscribed targets placed strong emphasis on their attainment. Political questions of who gets what, when and why are central to examining the effectiveness of partnerships.