Rinse the scallops under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel until they are completely dry. Sprinkle both sides of the scallops with salt.
In a large skillet over low heat, heat the oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic is browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove it. Increase the heat to medium-high. When the pan is very hot and the oil is shimmering, add the scallops, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Sear the scallops until they develop a golden crust, about 2 minutes, then flip and sear until they are barely opaque, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
Wipe any burned areas on the pan, then return to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the lime juice and the water to the pan and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Add the butter, corn, tomatoes, lime zest, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the tomatoes give off their juices and the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the chives. Taste, adding more salt and lime juice if necessary. Spoon a generous helping of the corn succotash onto individual plates, top with the scallops, and serve.