China is often viewed as an emerging experimental base for transit-oriented development (TOD) practices because of its rapid urban growth and development of mass transit networks. The implementation of TOD can be heavily influenced by institutional barriers to urban growth. However, some newly emerging types of TOD practice allow planners and decision-makers to bypass some of the institutional barriers and achieve a certain degree of integrated development. Current academic literature, however, has little to say on how these informal institutional solutions go around these barriers. This article aims to fill this gap by examining three different types of TOD practice as applied in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. We analysed and compared the origins and effects of abovementioned informal institutional arrangements under entrepreneurial governance. We found that land value capturing can replace the existing governance mode in which local government heavily relies on revenue from land-leasing and realise better integration of transit and land development. We conclude with several suggestions for institutional reform based on these new types of TOD experiments.