Mainstream literature on global value chains (GVCs) and global production networks (GPNs) has increasingly demonstrated how the state and political conjunctures play a central role in strategic coupling. Nonetheless, scholarly attention still remains on the role of firms and their strategies. By focusing on firms, GVC and GPN scholars often underestimate the influence that non-firm actors such as the state have on strategic coupling, especially concerning its negative development implicationsits “dark side”. To contribute to this literature, this article proposes an approach and research agenda to examine how processes of corporate capture evolve via strategic coupling. This approach is based on the interplay of three variables: the strategic selectivity of states; the strategic action of firms; and states' predominant mode of insertion into GPNs. I argue that corporate capture is much more common and variegated in capitalist states and consequently in strategic coupling than often assumed in mainstream literature.