The scaling up nutrition (SUN) policy framework requires extensive public–private partnership (PPP). Malnutrition is multi-dimensional and should engage multi-sectoral platforms. The SUN policy however did not fully embrace the dynamics of harnessing PPP. The objectives of the present paper are to highlight the reasons for the apprehension around PPP and illustrate how effective coordination of PPP in West Africa has contributed to implementing large-scale food fortification with micronutrients as a complementary nutrition intervention. The experience of Helen Keller International (HKI) in scaling up food fortification was emphasised with understanding of the factors contributing to indifference by the international community to private sector contribution to SUN. The roles of different stakeholders in a PPP are elucidated and the process linked to who, why and how to engage. The private sector provides direct nutrition services while the public sector creates the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive on social values. Through this approach fortified vegetable oil and wheat flour are now reaching over 70% of the population in West Africa. As a neutral broker HKI coordinated and facilitated dialogue among the different stakeholders. The core competencies of each stakeholder were harnessed and each partner was held accountable. It concludes that multi-sectoral relationship must be transparent, equitable and based on shared mutual interests. The rules and values of PPP offer opportunities for SUN.