The present study examines the organizational programme of NORHED, the standing acronym for the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development, operating in the organizational environment of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (i.e. Norad). In particular, this study analyzes how NORHED positions itself in the debate regarding sustainable development, both in the public domain (via official documentation) and internally (via interviews with its officers and collaborating academics). Using a qualitative, single case study approach, we evaluate how NORHED interprets and articulates sustainable development in the context of higher education environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Through this case study, we aim to surface both the rich prospects of using the conceptual vocabulary of sustainable development for higher education institutions as well as its limitations if peremptorily used.