The generation of single-layer 2-dimensional (2D) nanosheets has been challenging, especially in solution-phase, since it requires highly anisotropic growth processes that exclusively promote planar directionality during nanocrystal formation. In this study, we discovered that such selective growth pathways can be achieved by modulating the binding affinities of coordinating capping ligands to the edge facets of 2D layered transition-metal chalcogenides (TMCs). Upon changing the functional groups of the capping ligands from carboxylic acid to alcohol and amine with accordingly modulated binding affinities to the edges, the number of layers of nanosheets is controlled. Single-layer MSe2 (M = Mo, W) TMC nanosheets are obtained with the use of oleic acid, while multilayer nanosheets are formed with relatively strong binding ligands such as oleyl alcohol and oleylamine. With the choice of appropriate capping ligands in the 2D anisotropic growth regime, our solution-based synthetic method can serve a new guideline for obtaining single-layer TMC nanosheets.