The characteristics of flow past a partial cross-stream array of (idealized) tidal turbines are investigated both analytically and computationally to understand the mechanisms that determine the limiting performance of partial tidal fences. A two-scale analytical partial tidal fence model reported earlier is further extended by better accounting for the effect of array-scale flow expansion on device-scale dynamics, so that the new model is applicable to short fences (consisting of a small number of devices) as well as to long fences. The new model explains theoretically general trends of the limiting performance of partial tidal fences. The new model is then compared to three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) computations of flow past an array of various numbers (up to 40) of actuator disks. On the whole, the analytical model agrees well with the RANS computations, suggesting that the two-scale dynamics described in the analytical model predominantly determines the fence performance in the RANS computations as well. The comparison also suggests that the limiting performance of short partial fences depends on how much of device far-wake mixing takes place within the array near-wake region. This factor, however, depends on the structures of the wake and therefore on the type/design of devices to be arrayed.