We present a theoretical study of the polarization engineering in semi-polar III-nitrides heterostructures. As a case study, we investigate the influence of GaN, AlGaN, and AlInN barrier material on the performance of semi-polar (11 (2) over bar2) InGaN-based quantum wells (QWs) for blue (450 nm) and yellow (560 nm) emission. We show that the magnitude of the total built-in electric field across the QW can be controlled by the barrier material. Our results indicate that AlInN is a promising candidate to achieve (i) reduced wavelength shifts with increasing currents and (ii) strongly increased electron-hole wave function overlap, important for reduced optical recombination times. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.