In Kazakhstan, a transitional nation in Central Asia, the development of public–private partnerships (PPPs) is at its early stage and increasingly of strategic importance. This case study investigates risk allocation in an ongoing project: the construction and operation of 11 kindergartens in the city of Karaganda in the concession form for 14 years. Drawing on a conceptual framework of effective risk allocation, the study identifies principal PPP risks, provides a critical assessment of how and in what way each partner bears a certain risk, highlights the reasons underpinning risk allocation decisions and delineates the lessons learned. The findings show that the government has effectively transferred most risks to the private sector partner, whilst both partners share the demand risk of childcare services and the project default risk. The strong elements of risk allocation include clear assignment of parties’ responsibilities, streamlined financing schemes and incentives to complete the main project phases on time. However, risk allocation has missed an opportunity to create incentives for service quality improvements and take advantage of economies of scale. The most controversial element of risk allocation, as the study finds, is a revenue stream that an operator is supposed to receive from the provision of services unrelated to childcare, as neither partner is able to mitigate this revenue risk. The article concludes that in the kindergartens’ PPP, the government has achieved almost complete transfer of risks to the private sector partner. However, the costs of transfer are extensive government financial outlays that seriously compromise the PPP value for money.