Ultra-lightweight alloys with high strength, ductility and corrosion resistance are desirable for applications in the automotive, aerospace, defence, biomedical, sporting and electronic goods sectors. Ductility and corrosion resistance are generally inversely correlated with strength, making it di°cult to optimize all three simultaneously. Here we design an ultralow density (1.4 g cm−3) Mg–Li-based alloy that is strong, ductile, and more corrosion resistant than Mg-based alloys reported so far. The alloy is Li-rich and a solute nanostructure within a body-centred cubic matrix is achieved by a series of extrusion, heat-treatment and rolling processes. Corrosion resistance from the environment is believed to occur by a uniform lithium carbonate film in which surface coverage is much greater than in traditional hexagonal close-packed Mg-based alloys, explaining the superior corrosion resistance of the alloy.