My scenario: A high-profile developer has targeted a large, publicly listed tract of land and has agreed to buy the property from the seller provided the developer is successful in acquiring certain surrounding parcels currently owned by local individuals. For a number of reasons, acquiring those smaller parcels is necessary for the success of the new development. Zoning for this large tract makes it suitable only for one specific use and locals are aware of a short list of prospective buyers. Only a handful of potential developers fit the profile of the likely buyer - all heavy hitters with deep pockets. The developer wishes to fly under the radar and conceal his identity when acquiring the surrounding parcels because he thinks if the locals get wise to who he is, they will ask unreasonable prices and make the development impossible.
My question is this: how would the developer go about acquiring the smaller (necessary) parcels without tipping his hand about who he is, knowing that the land is publicly listed and the locals are already aware of the eventual type of development and likely buyers?