This article develops a heuristic for comparative governance analysis. The heuristic depicts four network types by combining network structure with the state’s capacity to metagovern. It suggests that each network type produces a particular combination of input and output legitimacy. We illustrate the heuristic and its utility using a comparative study of agri-food networks (organic farming and land use) in four countries, which each exhibit different combinations of input and output legitimacy respectively. The article concludes by using a fifth case study to illustrate what a network type that produces high levels of input and output legitimacy might look like.