Magnetoelectric coupling at room temperature in multiferroic materials, such as BiFeO3, is one of the leading candidates to develop low-power spintronics and emerging memory technologies. Although extensive research activity has been devoted recently to exploring the physical properties, especially focusing on ferroelectricity and antiferromagnetism in chemically modified BiFeO3, a concrete understanding of the magnetoelectric coupling is yet to be fulfilled. We have discovered that La substitutions at the Bi-site lead to a progressive increase in the degeneracy of the potential energy landscape of the BiFeO3 system exemplified by a rotation of the polar axis away from the < 111 > (pc) towards the < 112 > (pc) discretion. This is accompanied by corresponding rotation of the antiferromagnetic axis as well, thus maintaining the right-handed vectorial relationship between ferroelectric polarization, antiferromagnetic vector and the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya vector. As a consequence, La-BiFeO3 films exhibit a magnetoelectric coupling that is distinctly different from the undoped BiFeO3 films. BiFeO3 has a wide application but the impact of rare-earth substitution for the evolution of the coupling mechanism is unknown. Here, the authors reveal the correlation between ferroelectricity, antiferromagnetism, a weak ferromagnetic moment, and their switching pathways in La-substituted BiFeO3.