The basic approach you describe should be fine, but you need to set the details the agent will use to connect to the controller.
If you have not somehow editted these into the controller-info.xml in your dockerfile, you will need to pass additional system properties or environment variables to your container.
To verify that this is indeed the issue, you can look in the agent log file within the container.
Also, note that node name need to be unique within a tier. You may want to look at auto node naming.
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