Managing major public infrastructure projects presents considerable challenges for governments/associated stakeholders, particularly where resources are limited. Consequently, many countries are now exploring various approaches to engaging the private sector in the delivery of essential infrastructure projects crucial to economic growth/development. Given these, a conceptual collaborative engagement framework is developed to overcome the challenges/contextual constraints associated with road infrastructure management in Nigeria. The study adopted a pragmatist philosophical positioning that involved a sequential mixed-methods research approach. The ‘quality function deployment’ systematic integration tool was employed to determine the degree of correlation between the ‘pivotal drivers’ and the ‘voice of the customer’. Research findings identified 12 important priorities of collaboration that constitute the nucleus of the conceptual Collaborative Engagement Framework for Road Infrastructure Management (Cefrim). These priorities reaffirm the need for ‘good/harmonious relationships’, ‘collective understanding’, ‘shared responsibility’, ‘innovative capacity’, ‘accountability’ and ‘value-for-money’ as essential rubrics for collaborative engagement. The Cefrim presents new knowledge that would help practitioners understand the fundamental elements in developing collaborative projects. Key implications include the need to help stakeholders appreciate the importance of people-centric forces in relationships. In doing so, traditional ‘lose-lose’ and ‘win-win’ relationships can be more effectively understood ergo the pivotal measures of success.