Many scholars, policy makers and practitioners associate new, networked forms of collaboration and governance with positive attributes such as speed, flexibility, adaptability and ‘flatness’. This article contrasts the assumptions that networks essentially moderate external asymmetries of power with the network theoretical view that networks may amplify existing hierarchies. The case study network explored supports the network theoretical view that existing power relations may be increased when a multistakeholder partnership network is established. The use of Social Network Analysis facilitates the comparison of the structures and relationships into which global policy actors are organised (the formal network) with the relationships and relational structures into which they choose to organise themselves (informal network). In the conclusions, I introduce the practice of network rewiring that could overcome the network mechanisms that amplify existing power relations. Further research is required that adds more case study evidence in order to raise (and begin to answer) questions that will give a wider view of the social structuring of power in partnership networks in international development, such as those referred to in the recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).