This paper analyses the behaviour of Albanian apple growers and their relations with buyers based on a structured survey. We develop a model of relational governance that highlights the importance of sustainable (lasting) relationships and draws upon different theoretical frameworks such as transaction cost economics and social network theory and focuses on determinants of relational exchange. The findings support the social network argument that the presence of verbal agreements between business partners strongly and positively affects exchange relationships. Asset specificity and competition among buyers also affects such relationships. The results and their implications at the management and policy-making level are discussed in detail.