The 23-year-old was on St Michael’s Lane, Headingley, when she was grabbed by a man at about 8.35pm on Saturday.
Police said she resisted and he ran from the scene.
The attacker was described as a dark skinned, possibly Asian, male around 6ft tall with short, dark brown hair and was wearing a dark hooded top.
An area of St Michael’s Lane near the Skyrack pub was cordoned off overnight on Saturday as police investigated.
Detective Inspector Ian Scott, of Leeds district CID, said: “We have a number of enquiries ongoing into this incident and are appealing for witnesses. The victim was not injured in the incident.
“I would ask anyone who saw the incident or saw a man fitting the description of the suspect behaving suspiciously in the St Michael’s Lane area at around the time of the offence to contact Leeds district CID.”
Despite speculation on social media, the detective said the incident was not being linked to the violent rape of a teenager in Beeston in March.
Inquiries are continuing into that incident, in which the 18-year-old victim was repeatedly hit with a rock before being sexually assaulted.
Det Insp Scott added: “While investigations are at an early stage we are not currently linking the offence to the ongoing investigation of the attempted murder and rape of an 18-year-old woman in Beeston Road, Beeston, on Friday, March 6.”
Neil Walshaw, councillor for Headingley, urged women to people to take safety precautions.
He said: “Given the horrendous events in Beeston, I think everyone is extra conscious of this as an issue. I just think people need to be sensible – walk in groups when they can and travel by taxi.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.