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Our company has several clients that run Wordpress blogs. Being that it's a small company, we (IT) are usually tasked with setting it up. Because our clients are typically not willing or able to maintain a VPS, shared hosting account, or dedicated box, we end up recommending they start a blog at wordpress.com. Then, six months down the line they change their mind and decide they want this plugin or that theme, and we end up migrating their blog to a shared hosting account.

What we'd like is a (paid) provider that will offer just what wordpress.com offers, but with full access to Wordpress as though we were hosting it ourselves. Our clients should not have to ssh to the box, or update wordpress themselves, that should all be taken care of. FTP would be necessary to upload themes or plugins on occasion, but all maintenance should be taken care of.

Does anyone know of such a provider?

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This can be done by having a box. Why don't you try amazon EC2 (Amazon Cloud), where you can have an instance of your own and decide on what to do with it.

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You could also take a look at WordPress MU (same software that runs wordpress.com): http://mu.wordpress.org/

This would likely give you the same environment your clients are currently used to, and if you combined this with EC2 or some similar service (Slicehost or RackSpace Cloud... they're all great), you can grant them the access to customize at the same time since you'll have full control of the hosting server(s).

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