A plan to build what has been billed as the Eden Project of the North is behind the decision to postpone the transfer of Cairngorm Estate to new owners.
The Eden Project was created in a disused clay pit near St Austell
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said it would retain ownership of the 3,504 acres (1,418 hectares) until the scheme was developed.
CairnGorm Mountain Limited (CML), which operates the area's funicular railway, has been preparing a business plan.
It has been proposed that it would showcase mountain environments.
Cornwall's Eden Project has been described as a "living theatre of plants and people".
It cost £80m to build and was partly funded by lottery money
The domes, called biomes, include warm temperate and humid tropical zones with banana, coffee and pineapple plants and trees
The scaffolding used was the largest bird cage scaffolding in the world, earning it an entry in the Guinness Book of Records
Within five years of opening it was estimated to have generated £700m for the Cornish economy.
The plan for a Highlands version has been driven by a need to find alternative attractions following a run of poor ski seasons.
CML has proposed the world's first national centre for the mountain environment, allowing the area to cash in on a growth in "green" tourism.
The estate includes the summit of Cairn Gorm, ski slopes and the funicular railway, which is operated by CML but owned by HIE.