By using wet-chemical methods, cubic, tetrahedral, and randomly shaped Rh nanoparticles (NPs) with different surface terminations were synthesized and subsequently deposited on ZrO2 supports. To guide the NP shape, three capping agents were used during the synthesis: polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), trimethyl(tetradecyl)ammonium bromide (TTAB), and oleylamine (OAm). TTAB and PVP could not be completely removed from the final catalyst, leaving a capping residue as confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). In contrast, OAm could be fully removed. The influence of the NP shape and the influence of the capping agents were evaluated under CO hydrogenation conditions. Both the PVP and TTAB residues blocked parts of the Rh surface and dominated catalytic activity beyond the effects from NP shape and surface termination. OAm could be successfully removed. The extent of metal surface blocking by the capping residue, probed by chemisorption, is larger than the observed reduction in CO hydrogenation activity. This suggests that a majority of less-active sites are being blocked by the capping residue and that successful removal of the residue from the most active sites is possible.