The present study of an infrastructure project shows how anxiety of repeated organizational failure instigates stronger stakeholder control. This control frustrated the project organization’s efforts to gain trustworthiness, hampering project completion. The study also shows how the public demonstration of stakeholder control was used to curb reputation loss or to preemptively attribute blame. In this way, control inhibits trust relations between supposedly cooperating project partners. We contribute to the debates on political avoidance of reputation loss and trust–control interrelations by showing how the aftereffects of failure (anxiety and avoidance) limit the effectiveness of control as a means to repair trust.