Partnerships have become established as a significant vehicle for the implementation of rural development policy in Britain. In promoting new working relationships between different state agencies and between the public, private, and voluntary sectors, partnerships have arguably contributed to a reconfiguration of the scalar hierarchy of the state. In this paper we draw on recent debates about the 'politics of scale' and on empirical examples from Mid Wales and Shropshire to explore the scalar implications of partnerships. We investigate how discursive constructs of partnership are translated into practice, how official discourses are mediated by local actors, the relationship between partnerships and existing scales of governance, and the particular 'geometry of power' being constructed through partnerships. We argue that the existing scalar hierarchy of the state has been influential in structuring the scales and territories of partnerships, and that, despite an apparent devolution of the public face of governance, the state remains crucial in governing the process of governance through partnerships.