This paper contributes to theory building efforts around the concept of knowledge connectivity and its relevance in buyer-supplier relationships in global value chains. We use the Pakistani IT industry as our study context. Pakistan suffered a significant adverse perception bias following terror attacks in 2008-09. We based our illustration on the experiences of 12 Pakistani offshore service providers (OSPs) who succeeded in offsetting the negative implications of the country’s adverse political environment. The case firms link into two distinct value chain configurations. In each configuration, we observe a distinct course of strategic action, which we term step-up and break-out, respectively. While these observations emerged from the Pakistani context, the implications of the resulting dynamic framework for theory and practice go beyond this particular adverse country setting.