Multi-sided platforms (MSPs) represent an active area in economics and electronic markets, but are given scant attention in digital government research. While the body of knowledge on commercial MSPs is steadily growing, little empirical substantiation exists about the series of design choices that stakeholders conduct in order to realize information infrastructures in a public-private setting. This paper investigates the barriers and decisions that influence the public-private design of MSPs. Two public-private initiatives are investigated: (1) standard business reporting and (2) an international logistic information platform. The barriers and decisions in the current portrayal of both cases are analysed on two aspects: (1) the platform governance and (2) the information infrastructure. Research data is collected through knowledge retention projects in which researchers and practitioners reflect on design choices. We found that rather than developing an information infrastructure and demanding that businesses use it, government agencies detach from the classical approach and actively tempt businesses to partner in achieving long-term goals. A cross-case comparison shows that in the public-private setting government agencies need to employ a careful mix of instruments (i.e., business incentives, legislation and standard development) in order to realise successful information infrastructures. Both government agencies and businesses are still learning in terms of employing MSPs for realising change.