Like you said, avoid exemplifying the unwanted behavior as much as you can. Try to have arguments and disagreements in a civilized tone, with positive body language in trying to persuade the other party to your point of view.
Don't make him apologize too much. Cut back on the emphasis of make-ups and "taking damage" from outbursts. In my opinion too much apologizing has 2 problems: 1) apologies become hollow and meaningless, 2) it's ok to do anything as long as I apologize afterward.
Gradually increase your intolerance for the outbursts. This is the hardest part but it's how to stop them, or at least reduce their severity.
So, don't react to his anger with more anger.
Make every effort to help him regain emotional control, to calm down, don't ignore him because he might just go more ballistic.
But don't give him what he wants because he's making this outburst.
He should calm down first, and learn to say what he wants in a calm way. If he should have what he wants, give it to him once he's completely calmed down. If not, then here's where the "infinite patience" comes in -- you have to continue to calm him down without giving him what he wants or "paying him off" with something else. If he's physically fighting, throwing things, immobilize him by hugging or holding onto him, or holding his arms so that he can't hit. This takes some skill. Don't hurt him, but hold him firmly to let him know you mean business, and that this behavior must stop now. Also, say Stop, calm down, and other such phrases in a firm but not mean tone (a parenting tone, if you will), until he relaxes a little.
You can try distracting him or getting him interested in something else, however. But don't buy him off with something special every time he tantrums -- I believe doing that re-inforces the subconscious feedback loop of, "When I throw a tantrum, what I want or something else good will happen."
Tantruming can't be a way to get your way -- otherwise it will just continue.