Nowadays, intense global competition requires companies to reposition themselves in value networks and build more sustainable and long-term relationships with their outsourcing partners. Trust and formal controls are critical issues in contemporary outsourcing arrangements today. This paper contributes to the understanding of the trust-control nexus in dynamic outsourcing relationships and argues that the achieved level of balance leads to a different course of the development of an outsourcing arrangement. These issues are explored in two case studies, where the knowledge on trust and controls is constructed in the form of organisational narratives. The analysis of the cases reveals how the client and vendor’s actions oscillate between different balancing levels of trust and controls in the relationship dynamics and how this leads to contrasting outsourcing outcomes.