In Ghana, chieftaincy institutions act as custodians for about 80% of the total land area, and are responsible for leasing or allocating land while official planning institutions determine and manage its use. Yet, the extent to which chieftaincy institutions impede or contribute to sustainable urban land use planning in Ghana has received limited research attention. The scholarship on urban land use planning in Ghana has instead focused largely on rapid urbanisation, limited personnel and logistical capacity of planning institutions, and mainstream political interference. This paper addresses this gap by examining the chieftaincy-land use planning nexus in the Yendi municipality, Ghana. It explores the extent to which chieftaincy institutions limit or support sustainable urban land use planning in the municipality. Household and physical surveys, expert interviews, telephone conversations, and document reviews were used. Findings indicate that while chieftaincy's role as custodian of land is central to land development, it has assumed the role of planning institutions in terms of land use determination and management. Negative perception of planning officials among residents has also overshadowed the visibility of professional planning practice in the municipality, contributing to poor land use planning. Residents continue to use chieftaincy institutions and other traditional approaches rather than formal planning agencies because the former is convenient, more effective, and yields rapid decisions. Further research is needed to explore whether land use planning under chieftaincy institutions leads to positive social and environmental outcomes.