This paper analyzes a partnership between a civil society organization and a local government (CPP) for development planning in an emerging democracy. The paper shows that CPPs can promote better policy design and implementation of public policy by benefiting from the strengths of both nonprofits and government. The paper answers pending questions like, ‘in which contexts are CPPs effective?’, ‘what characteristics of nonprofits improve policy implementation?’; ‘how does the reputation and public trust that local nonprofits enjoy transfer to the partnership?’ and ‘to what extent does non-profit participation create more citizens engagement?’, among others. By answering these questions the paper shows the potential benefits that local government-nonprofits partnerships can bring to the policymaking process, but it also argues that effective CPPs are fraught with challenges. The paper demonstrates the need for more inclusive and identity-sensitive local governance mechanisms, and for institutional arrangements that anticipate conflict and address increasing inequalities and community disengagement. The paper shows that effective governance is a collaborative venture in which social inputs need to be taken into account in program design; and a shared vision of the common good needs to be built-up for policy implementation.By exposing the tensions and conflicts of this governance experiment, the paper draws lessons for nonprofits, governments, and policymakers who seek to participate or design collaborative ventures.The case studied is the program of Pueblos Magicos in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, an instructive object of study, which lessons are not unique to this small town in central Mexico, but common to towns experiencing rapid demographic and economic growth elsewhere.