I think I track down the problem as I happen to be working on another site. I wasn't experiencing the issue you were having because I have other minification (stripping new lines among other things) plugins installed.
When using "force rewrite" the SEO plugin outputs to buffer then at the end extracts the buffer and does a preg_replace to substitute the entire html title tag. The regex pattern doesn't handle new lines. So, if the theme is outputting the title across multiple lines, the regex won't match and therefore it won't rewrite the title.
I put in a minor patch that seems to be working on my sites and for my clients. I've also reached out to Yoast to submit the edit for review and inclusion in the next update.
Here's the patch. Use at your own risk and no warranties are expressed or implied.
In plugins/wordpress-seo/frontend/class-frontend.php around line 830
$content = preg_replace('/<title>(.*)<\/title>/','<title>'.$title.'</title>', $content);
$content = preg_replace('/<title>(.*)<\/title>/sU','<title>'.$title.'</title>', $content);
The minor edit is the regex pattern modifiers that I added, sU.
s = treat string as single line
U = ungreedy