University-industry partnerships (UIPs) are widely viewed as essential in leveraging research capability and economic performance in organizations and the nation as a whole. In Australia, as in many other countries, the national government commits significant funds to such ‘strategic’ collaborations. Despite this interest, there is still a relatively poor understanding of the interorganizational dynamics of these industry and university partnerships and their projects. This paper examines such dynamics by focusing on a management-related research project we were involved in negotiating and undertaking with industry partner managers over a four-year period. Of particular relevance was the complex interplay between UIP politics, social constructions of the project and the pervasive interorganizational context that allowed the industry partner to hold the university at arm’s length rather than in arms’ embrace.