In order to constrain – and understand – the growth of galaxies, we present a sample of ~ 30 galaxies at z ~ 2 with resolved distribution of stellar mass, star-formation rate, and dust attenuation on scales of ~ 1 kpc. We find that low- and intermediate-mass galaxies grow self-similarly, doubling their stellar mass in the centers and outskirts with the same pace. More massive galaxies (~ 1011 M⊙) have a reduced star-formation activity in their center: they grow mostly in the outskirts (inside-out quenching / formation). Similar trends are find in cosmological zoom-in simulations, highlighting that high stellar mass densities are formed in a gas-rich compaction phase. This nuclear ‘starburst’ phase is followed by a suppressed star-formation activity in the center, resulting in growth of the outskirts. All in all, we put forward that we witness at z ~ 2 the dissipative formation of z = 0 M* early-type galaxies.