Partnerships among multiple organizations across a range of sectors that bring together multiple perspectives are a common way of addressing community health and building capacity. To function successfully, partnerships depend on the careful orchestration of a collaborative culture and the facilitation of collective action. Using a systematic method, we developed a synthesis of evidence about collaborative capacity building, integrating this diverse knowledge base into a usable framework. Seventeen published models of collaborative capacity building met the inclusion criteria and were combined to derive a matrix that could guide the actions of those responsible for partnership management. This matrix may make the process of developing partnerships less complicated in future.