Links between climate change adaptation, mitigation, and development co-benefits in land policy and ecosystem restoration projects are hampered by a limited understanding of how multi-faceted policy, institutions, and projects interact. This paper explores perceptions of co-benefits produced by two community-level projects that pursue ecosystem restoration in South Africa. It develops a new analytical framework to assess the enabling and constraining factors in delivering triple wins for adaptation, mitigation, and development. The aim is to investigate the potential for integrating community perspectives into policy and project development and implementation. Data collected through mixed methods (policy analysis, semi-structured interviews, participatory site visits, and focus groups) are analyzed using thematic analysis. We find that while the projects investigated have the potential to deliver triple wins, siloed approaches presently hinder effective implementation. In particular, the project’s focus on job creation hampers the achievement of longer-term mitigation and adaptation benefits. Operational flexibility, long-term goals, multi-sectoral cooperation, and enabling frameworks are imperative to the achievement of triple wins. Findings provide valuable lessons that can be applied across sub-Saharan Africa towards achieving triple wins in climate and development policy and practice, especially those developed with job creation and ecological restoration aims.