Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have proliferated in development studies over the past decades. However, oftentimes the partnership notion remains loosely defined, thus making it difficult to grasp the concept and evaluate practice. This article aims to contribute to conceptual and empirical exploration of the PPP concept. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature, we frame eight characteristics of PPPs in development policy. Turning then to exploration of empirical practice, we present a longitudinal analysis of PPPs in Danish development policy over a twenty-year period. The conceptual and empirical insights target PPP development researchers and practitioners alike.