How can we better understand the complex interaction effects that are triggered when businesses and international government agencies become partners in social development? To answer, this article presents field experiences of Heineken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, and the United Nations Global Compact in Dubai, to show the impact of key multi-stakeholder business-development policies as experienced by millions of people. These cases help us understand business and sustainable development interactions by exploring existing research gaps regarding issues of discourse, guidance, and legitimacy. This article has four aims: (1) to show that business-development interactions are much more complex than most case studies are able to encapsulate; (2) to explore how unintended ripple effects of even the most promising “win-win” business-development policies can carry catastrophic consequences; (3) to illustrate the potential benefits of a novel methodology for future research on business, global governance, and sustainable development; and (4) to show how business and development concerns interconnect across and through the macro- and meso-levels of analysis down to local livelihood interactions and impacts. I contextualize these experiences to emerging scholarship, opening avenues for building theory and improving policy on business, development, and peace.